As Cyclone Owen rolled into the Queensland coastal town of Yeppoon, forcing us to postpone our Grace Tales shoot not once but three times, it became more ironic than frustrating.
Laureth Rumble, her husband Wayne and three children, Indio 4, Haven 2, and Steel 4 months, have endured a few cyclones in their time as island owners, including Cyclone Marcia that significantly damaged their award winning retreat on Pumpkin Island in February 2015. In March 2018, the Rumbles acquired yet another island retreat, (now newly rebuilt and called Elysian) this time on Long Island in the Whitsundays that had been rendered non-operational after cyclone Marcia and then Debbie in 2017 left it in ruins. So being well-versed in all things ‘cyclonic’, instead of showcasing the normally crystal blue sea, sky and sun-drenched landscape views the family’s mainland home boasts, it was decided to impart what the wild and wondrous coast life can sometimes unleash – wind, rain and thunderous grey skies! When you meet Laureth it becomes instantly apparent she is acutely in- touch with the environment. She is softly spoken, calm (even during two year old meltdowns) and welcoming – an authentic earth mother. So not surprisingly the basis of her family’s exclusive Island retreat business is sustainability. Her love of the ocean and nature has seen her and husband Wayne become pioneers in their field. Operating a business on an island comes with distinct challenges, especially in terms of energy, waste and water and yet they have still managed to attain Australia’s highest ecotourism certification permits granted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in recognition of their commitment to environmental sustainability. Pumpkin Island has been awarded the Advanced Eco Tourism certification, certified by EarthCheck, recognised as a Climate Action Leader and also became the first beyond carbon neutral island in Australia. And the vision for the luxury Elysian Retreat (which launched just late January) is in line in terms of sustainability and immersion into nature including plans to install a 80kW solar farm to run the entire resort. So how does a mum of three children under that age of five also run multiple businesses while transiently moving between two islands and the mainland? We are guessing it has a lot to do with her serene temperament and the magic of living an isle life… Laureth has also kindly shared an exclusive discount to Elysian Resort for readers. Simply use the code Grace15 for a 15% discount for bookings up until February 2020 made before 31st of March 2019. Photography: Naomi Pelletier Styling & Words: Penny Hunt Make-up: Kylie Sefton @ Pro Make-up Studio Hair: Jenna Alexander @ Lock, Stock and Barrel Florals: Dee Busby @ Posey Creative: Around the Corner Creative
What are the highlights about island life?
I enjoy the pace of island life, even when we are busy, life slows down. That is an incredible experience in itself. Being surrounded by water has an extremely calming effect on me… nature, the ocean, the elements all inspire me to be more creative, less busy, live more simply, mindfully… to breathe and to be grateful.
What was your career before your children?
I’ve never really stopped working. But before running the islands, I worked as a conceptual multimedia designer for an ad agency with big brand clients. Before that I worked as a chef and stewardess on super yachts, an au pair for a well-known family and as an extra on music videos whilst studying.
Laureth wears Lee Matthews dress, $429; Indie wears Bonita Kaftans dress, $149 & Steal wears Jacadi bloomers.
Where were you born and raised?
I moved to Australia almost 10 years ago from Durban in South Africa. I was born in the middle of South Africa in a small town famous for its cherries and farmlands. We later moved to a small coastal town on the East Coast and apart from a few stints in London, I’ve never really lived away from the ocean again.
Laureth wears Lee Matthews dress, $675.
You're a very spiritual person, have you always been?
I was born and raised into a very spiritual family. I have also been heavily influenced by not only my own near-death experiences, but I’ve lost many dear friends from a very young age. I believe this has all contributed to my interest in healing and emotional wellness. I’ve attended many healing workshops, learnt about and experienced different healing techniques and methodologies and one of the most influential for me has been sound healing. There is something so simple, yet profound and transformational about sound. It has the ability to go beyond the barriers we create. One particular experience I had in Ubud during a 3-hour gong bath took me on a journey of discovery and I believe ultimately led me to many of the revelations that I would like to incorporate at Elysian. In order for other people to experience the same restoration and serenity.
SHOP: Jacadi swimsuit
What other training have you had that you will utilise at Elysian retreat?
I have always wanted to study yoga, not only the practise and asanas but the philosophy and lifestyle aspects too. I travelled to India just before we got married to do my teacher course there in an Ashram. It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had and I’m so grateful for the chance I had to do this. We spent many days in total silence and a substantial amount of time doing karma yoga. Karma yoga is the yoga of action. It’s about purifying your heart by learning to act selflessly in service of others. Through karma yoga, we learn kindness and compassion without an expectation of gain. This means stepping off of the mat and into the world. It means humbling your ego, serving your community, and being part of something bigger than yourself. I also started studying Neuroenergetic Kinesiology a few years ago and find it so fascinating how our bodies can so clearly communicate the stress we experience and how this can be cleared. Coming from Africa I spent many hours in drumming circles in Cape Town and other parts in my time there. Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, a release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self.
Indie wears Bonita Kaftan dress, $149.
What is the importance of sustainability?
In essence, to sustain is to continue our capacity to live life on this planet. Only a living planet can continue to sustain us. A dead one cannot. The current economic model of infinite economic growth is no longer sustainable. Paul Gilding talks about this in his the Earth is Full TEDX talk. Recently I listened to an incredible speech by 15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg who delivered a blistering speech to U.N. climate negotiators in Poland that reminded all of us that you are never too small to make a difference.
What are 3 things anyone can do to become more sustainable?
- Composting food waste, it is surprising how much it cuts down on waste to landfill
- Shop at a local farmers market as much as possible to support local businesses and families and minimise purchasing fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging. It also reduces the food miles.
- Read labels of cleaning and cosmetic products and research ingredients to ensure your home is as chemical-free as possible. This not only prevents these chemicals running into waste water systems, but your skin and respiratory system will also be better off.
What inspires you as a mother and keeps you sane?
Seeing the world through our children’s eyes inspires me to show them how beautiful the world we live in is, how gratitude can transform any situation we may find ourselves in and how kindness and love is always the answer to dissolving walls and barriers. One other note, with three kids under five, a glass of wine and some precious time with other mums keeps me sane. The companionship, compassion and unspoken understanding do wonders for my soul.
You decided to have your kids close together, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
To be totally honest I am not a 100% sure right now being in the midst of it all. We are living in this total all-consuming chaos most days with moments of absolutely heart rendering, breathtaking beauty, fun and laughter. Parenting is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I often wonder what it would have been like if they were further apart and sometimes have glimpses of that life watching friends, who have done so, but this is our family and I try to remember the crazy hard times are just that, a moment in time and everything shall pass.
What has motherhood taught you?
I thought I was a pretty patient person before I became a mother, but now I have just a totally new level of patience. And compassion…. I look at other mums and think wow, we do so much, we accomplish so much just by raising children to become decent human beings. We are capable of so much more than we think we are.
Can you share a few of your favourite eco items?
- I love the beautiful ceramic coffee cups made by Pottery for the Planet to replace disposable cups. Each cup is unique, handmade and a work of art.
- Colourful beeswax wraps you can use to replace cling film.
- Wind turbines and solar panels. I think it is pretty amazing that we can harness the energy of nature.
- Teeki Yoga Pants, made from recycled plastic bottles with awesome prints.
- Reusable water bottle with a special alkaline filter. We always try to encourage guests not to bring plastic water bottles to the Island.
Indie wears Bonita Kaftan dress, $149.
What have you created as family traditions now you’re a mum?
We love packing a picnic, going for walks on the island and discovering new exciting little places to enjoy – sometimes on the rocks just above the tide exploring little rock pools, sometimes under a cave-like overhang. And sometimes it is just standing on the grassy patch looking out for turtles, dolphins or whales. It is the girls’ favourite thing to pack their little backpacks full of things they will need for the adventure; magic wands, books, toy bunnies and a bow for their hair.
What makes it on to your little list of loves?
- Diving and snorkelling… being underwater is my heaven.
- I absolutely love doing things that scare me witless… bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, white river rafting down some crazy rapids and next on my list is skydiving… I’m terrified, but the fear makes me feel so alive 🙂
- Fresh, simple delicious food… Japanese cuisine has always been one of my favourites…
- My husband always plays happy music around the house and I love dancing with the girls.
- I’m also pretty sure my blood is 50% coffee!
- My favourite book of all time is the Alchemist by Pauli Coelho… I’ve read it many times and I love so many of the lessons in there… Like this one: The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.
- Passionfruit caipiroskas – my all time favourite summer drink.
- When I feel a little out of sorts I listen to 528hz tracks. 528hz is the “love” frequency and known as the “miracle” tone.